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The Tough Mudder for a Tough Mother


Posted by Joanna R under Adventure Racing on 15 February 2012 at 9:41 AM

The Tough Mudder (love the name); I’ve been hearing about it for more than a year.  Some friends did it at Mt. Snow in Vermont last May and have talked me into being on a team.  Yeah OK, why did I do this?  I want to see how tough I am, really.  It’s a crazy obstacle filled 10 mile course with mud, electricity, monkey bars, cold water, and extreme terrain.  Surely you’ve heard of this, it’s all over the news.  Tough Mudder is a phenomenon; it’s become global and is one of the fastest growing businesses in the world. 

A few months ago I saw that James G had made a tribe Tough Mudder Endurance Training, now there are also two Challenges and several members of our community are committing to the event itself.  I decided to ask a few of them the “tough” questions – like why are you doing this?  And what are you scared of?  James G was happy to give me five minutes of his time and wrote me that the no-excuses attitude of the Tough Mudder was appealing as well as the camaraderie; he likes the synergy between Tribesports and the Mudder.  James also shared that the he is particularly looking forward to the 10,000 volts of dangling electrical wires and the arctic enema (lovely name for a course challenge).  I didn’t really get the sense he was afraid of much and the ooh-rah at the end of his email confirmed it. 

Haemish G is also doing the Mudder, he lives in the UK but works for a company in New Jersey and he saw it as a chance to bond with his work team; they are participating in the Pennsylvania location in the Poconos.  He says he’s not a runner, he’s a climber and he’s currently training for a rowing expedition.  Haemish is taking the Mudder course hype in stride.  He shared with me this bit of advice, “As for being scared of any of the obstacles I refer you to the two axioms of Patterdale Mountain Rescue Team:   1. how hard can it be?  2. it’s all good training.”  Clearly he subscribes to the keep calm and carry on philosophy. 
Next on my list is Nick B, and he says, “I like the Challenge.  I particularly like the fact that it is not a ‘race’. Not only does it challenge an individual’s mental and physical strength, stamina and fitness but also their ability to interact and act as a team, probably with people they have never met before.  If the only way to complete the course is to ensure everybody ‘wins’, it challenges a basic human instinct when confronted by a competitive situation; try and be the first (the best, the quickest) but ultimately fail due the impossibility of the circumstances or sacrifice the need to ‘win’ and contribute to the greater good and ensure that all survive.   The beauty is not in achieving a quick time but in competing.”   He does admit to being scared of rats, and aside from maybe a few gym rats, I think he’s safe at the Mudder.  And if you saw the pictures that Nick posted from a race he did called The Grimm, you would also think that he just likes getting muddy. 

As for me, I will confess that I’m a little nervous about the Mudder, most of my team are firemen, which means they are really good at saving people (a nice benefit for me if something goes wrong) but I want to make sure I can keep up.  I’ve set up my training so that I am doing a half marathon 3 weeks before the Mudder and I am just about to dive into their recommended training program.  What I know for sure is that if all else fails, yoga has made me a good breather and you can pretty much breathe your way through just about anything. 
Thanks to James, Haemish, and Nick for sharing your thoughts.  For more information